When the Washington Football Team hastily announced last week that Sean Taylor’s number would be retired before the team’s Week 6 clash against the Chiefs, it was hard not to see cynicism dripping from the move. Here was a scandal-plagued franchise, having just been saddled with yet another PR disaster thanks to leaked emails between Jon Gruden and former team president Bruce Allen, suddenly hoisting up a beloved and dearly missed player’s legacy like a shield. The timing seemed all too convenient.
The team insisted that the jersey retirement was not some tossed-together scheme designed to get fans thinking about anything other than the sewer in which the organization permanently resides. WFT team president Jason Wright quickly assured everyone that the jersey retirement ceremony had in fact been in the works for quite some time, and that announcing it on such short notice was nothing more than a strategic error. Whether you do or don’t buy Wright’s explanation, what’s not really up for debate is that the ceremony itself was carried in out multiple shoddy and embarrassing ways.
First, there was the dedication of Sean Taylor Road outside of the stadium, which members of Taylor’s family were present for. It was a nice gesture, but perhaps someone, at some point during the long, meticulous planning that went into this event, could have thought to remove the portable toilets from behind the road sign:
Then there was the jersey retirement itself, which was tacked onto a longer ceremony featuring team alumni from various decades, and featured no speeches from anyone in Taylor’s family:
And yet nothing put a pall on the festivities quite like, god I can’t believe I’m about to type this, the Jackson Mahomes TikTok incident.
What happened here is that Patrick Mahomes’s brother, Jackson, recorded himself doing a TikTok dance right on top of the big 21 that had been painted onto the field in Taylor’s honor. At first glance, this seems like a pretty fucked-up thing for Jackson to do, but it appears that he did not seek out the number so that he could dance on it and be disrespectful. According to Jackson, the WFT actually turned the area directly on top of the 21 into a makeshift VIP area for Mahomes’s family.
So now the question is this: Did Dan Snyder and the WFT plan all of this at the last minute in a gross attempt to capitalize on Taylor’s enduring popularity with the fans, and then lie about it later, or was this whole thing actually in the works for weeks and possibly months, and this is the best they could do? It’s hard to say which answer would make the team look worse.